Throughout his career as a sculptor, Jaume Plensa (Barcelona, 1955) has drawn on spirituality, the body and collective memory as the primary sources which tie together his visual artwork. Literature, psychology, biology, language and history become strategic tools in the creation of his work, and, through a broad spectrum of materials — steel, cast iron, resin, glass, water, sound — Plensa lends weight and physical volume to the components of the human condition and the ephemeral.
Founded in Paris in 1984 by Colombian theatre and visual artists Heidi, Elizabeth and Rolf Abderhalden, Mapa Teatro moved to Bogotá in 1986. Since its inception, this artists’ laboratory has developed its own cartography in the sphere of “living arts”, in a space which is conducive to transgressing borders — geographical, linguistic, artistic — and to staging local and global concerns by way of different devices and formats.
Dorothea Tanning (1910–2012) is widely regarded as one of the twentieth century’s most important and multifaceted women artists, an association, however, which she spurned: “Women artists. There is no such thing — or person. It’s just as much a contradiction in terms as ‘man artist’ or ‘elephant artist’. You may be a woman and you may be an artist; but the one is a given and the other is you”.
The Map and the Territory is the first major Luigi Ghirri retrospective to go on show outside the artist’s native Italy. The focus of the exhibition rests on the 1970s, a key period in the expansion of the suburbs and the service economy, the emergence of conceptual art and the mainstreaming of Pop and its strategies of appropriation.
In the context of the MA in Contemporary Art History and Visual Culture organised by the Museo Reina Sofia Study Centre in conjunction with the universities Autonomous (UAM) and Complutense (UCM) of Madrid, the Library and Documentation Centre's Espacio D presents Lost Modernities. Bauhaus and Spain, an academic exercise and exhibition arranged by a group of students from the MA's Art Theory and Critique itinerary.
The collective of photographers which operated under the name AFAL Group hailed from the publication AFAL, a magazine specialised in film and photography, published over a six-year period, from 1956 to 1963, and coordinated from Almería by José María Artero García (Almería, 1928–1991) and Carlos Pérez Siquier (Almería, 1930).
This exhibition explores Russian avant-garde art through the perspective of the Anti-art canons associated with the international Dada movement. The anti-academic work of Kazimir Malevich to eclipse classical art and the transrational language experiments (zaum) of Velimir Khlebnikov and Aleksei Kruchenykh are just some of the early contributions which substantiate the reasoning behind this show.
The Portuguese-born Brazilian artist Artur Barrio (Porto, 1945), winner of the Velázquez Prize for Plastic Arts in 2011, has been one the foremost figures of Action Art and conceptualisms in Latin America since he burst on to the Brazilian art scene in the late 1960s, at a time fraught with political tension and mounting repression under the military dictatorship. Interventions in public spaces and the search for a place of expression outside art institutions converge in this artist as a symbol of resistance to poeticise daily life, with the body of the artist the focal point of these actions in a critique of social coercion.
The sculptures and installations of Nairy Baghramian revise inherited forms and concepts as they address notions such as functionality, abstraction and feminism. With a clear reference to Art History and modern architecture, notably Minimalism and Surrealism, the artist calls into question the strain that exists between aspects such as function and ornament, industry and craft, among others. Her sculptures, made of steel, resin, silicone, and leather, often assume organic forms where visible protuberances and recesses in human physiology and subjectivity, as well as interior design and decorative objects, resound.
The photography of Marc Pataut (Paris, 1952) is structured around the formulation of research projects which address those political and human issues which often stand outside art institutions’ parameters.
The work of Beatriz González (Bucaramanga, 1938), widely regarded as one of the seminal artists from the Colombian art scene, occupies a unique place in the history of Latin American art — not only is she a pioneer of Pop Art, but also, almost without calculation, an incisive and coherent chronicler of recent Colombian history.
The exhibition Comics Revisited highlights the crossings of the comics genre and the visual arts. Born at the end of the nineteenth century after many historic precursors, it underwent various mutations with respect to its forms and publics. When Stéphane Mallarmé wrote that ‘everything in the world exists in order to end up as a book’, today it seems that everything, from the Bible to the most iconic literary masterpiece, ends up in a comic.
The exhibition Pessoa. All Art Is a Form of Literature takes its title from a quote by Álvaro de Campos, one of the most avant-garde heteronyms created by Fernando Pessoa (Lisbon, 1888–1935), and published in the influential Portuguese magazine presença.
Upon finishing his degree in Politics and African Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, William Kentridge (Johannesburg, 1955) moved to Paris for a year to study theatre and mime.
Esther Ferrer (San Sebastián, 1937), a pioneer and one of the foremost representatives of performance art in Spain, began participating in the activities of the Zaj group — with Walter Marchetti, Ramon Barce and Juan Hidalgo — in 1967.
George Herriman (New Orleans, 1880 – Los Angeles, 1944), regarded as one of the foremost American cartoonists, was part of a generation of pioneering artists who developed their work in the newspapers that started to feature comic strips at the turn of the twentieth century. Herriman’s work was hugely influential among a broad array of artists, including Willem de Kooning and Öyvind Fahlström, as well as intellectuals and writers such as E. E. Cummings, T. S. Eliot and Jack Kerouac
The work of Doris Salcedo (Bogotá, 1958) is deeply rooted in the social and political circumstances of her native Colombia, although she does occasionally address problems in other contexts — a case in point being the project she has devised for the Palacio de Cristal.
September 27– November 27, 2017 and December 20, 2017 – March 5, 2018
According to a commonly repeated story, a German officer asked Pablo Picasso, pointing to a photograph of his Guernica, “Did you do that?” Picasso is said to have replied, “No, you did.” The exhibition Violence in War and Peace is about this “you,” the inhumanity done to men by men that seemingly cannot be cured, not even after the terrible experiences of the most barbaric disasters of the last decades.
In recent years, David Bestué (Barcelona, 1980) has realised a series of sculpture projects which critically review certain historical events and aesthetic/formal developments characterising last century’s avant-garde movements in the fields of art, architecture and literature.
The present exhibition is the first retrospective in Spain on the artist group NSK (Neue Slowenische Kunst) [New Slovenian Art], which spearheaded one of the most important experiences in the culture that materialised in 1980s Yugoslavia, during the Cold War.
In the context of the Master’s Degree Course in Contemporary Art and Visual Culture taught at the Study Centre of the Museo Reina Sofía, Space D of the Museum’s Documentation Centre now presents Vis à vis: Quico Rivas, Archive and Prison, an academic exercise in exhibition design carried out by the group of students currently following the criticism itinerary on the Master’s course.
Throughout the 1960s, and across only twelve years, Lee Lozano (Newark, 1930–1999) developed a radically provocative body of work, actuated by the staunch questioning of each and every socially imposed structure. Her career unfolded alongside the emerging civil rights and anti-war movement and the protest, free and pacifist spirit that sprang up through the political landscape and aesthetics in America during that period.
Mário Pedrosa (Pernambuco, 1900 - Río de Janeiro, 1981) was one of the foremost 20th-century Brazilian and Latin American thinkers. A critic, politician and sociologist, Pedrosa embodied the paradigm of the public intellectual committed to the debate over the future of society, both politically and culturally, and was a spokesperson in the forming of Brazil’s modern culture.
Katarzyna Kobro (Moscow, 1898 - Lodz, 1951) and Władysław Strzemiński (Minsk, 1893 - Lodz, 1952) are two key figures from the Central European avant-garde, the creators of original artistic concepts in the fields of sculpture and painting, respectively, which at once radicalised and breached the premises of modernity.
Through the production of participatory objects, fabric sculptures and his own body, Franz Erhard Walther (Fulda, Germany, 1939) expands the definition of art and its relationship to viewers. For the artist, art bears an immaterial and performative character, manifested in the spectator’s individual, physical and mental commitment when he or she comes before artworks.